Daily Current Affairs for 21st January 2020

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Citizens’ rights dependent on duties, says PM

Paper: GS-II

Topic: Indian Constitution Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

For Prelims:  Fundamental duties, Citizen’s duty towards society

For Mains: Fundamental duties

What’s the News?

  • At a time when young people across the country are fighting for the rights of citizens, Prime Minister of India emphasised the duties of citizens during an interaction with high school students on Monday.
  • “Our rights are directly dependent on the duties performed by others,” he said, using the example of students, whose rights cannot be guaranteed unless teachers carry out their duties.

Rights and duties complementary in nature:

  • Citizens have the right to get better roads, infrastructure, and better-traveling facilities. But following traffic rules is their duty.
  • Having basic household amenities like electricity and clean tap water are citizens’ rights. However, it is their duty to end practices that lead to the wastage of electricity and water.
  • It is the citizen’s right to get clean streets, but it is the individual’s duty to stop throwing garbage on roads, and put trash into the right bins or disposes of it in a proper manner.
  • Citizens are entitled to get better health and healthcare facilities, but it is the duty of individuals to act toward Swachhta and vaccination.
  • It is indeed the right of the people to get a pollution-free atmosphere and natural calamity-free ecosystem. But for that to happen, voluntary citizen service is required for planting trees, reforesting wasteland, cleaning rivers, protecting forest cover, and population control measures, along with requisite governmental efforts.
  • India is the largest democracy in the world. Citizens have the right to vote, but casting that vote is their duty.
  • It is the moral duty of citizens to introduce and enhance a positive “work consciousness” and reject the tendency to find loopholes in rules and laws in order to suit convenience.
  • Citizens are certainly entitled to get better civic facilities for easier daily living, but their responsibility also includes timely payment of taxes for the welfare of the nation.

Prime minister encouraged students to learn their own mother tongues, English, Hindi and other regional languages as a way to celebrate the unity and diversity of the country.

He exhorted them to buy products made in India, and go on holidays to Indian, rather than foreign locations.

Small steps, such as cleanliness, saving electricity and water, buying tickets for train travel are all important ways to carry out their duties as citizens, he said.

He also encouraged students to participate in extra-curricular activities apart from academics, so that they would not end up as “robots”.

Steps needed:

  • Every citizen plays a key role in building a New India a clean, healthy and prosperous nation.
  • Everyone performing their duties, even mechanically, would pave the way for a better neighborhood, better society, and ultimately, a better country.
  • Today, it is important to emphasize the need to remember our constitutional duties for the progress of our country.
  • Fundamental duties should be included in the school curriculum and the list of the duties to be displayed at educational institutions and at other public places.
  • Fundamental Duties must serve as a constant reminder of national goals as well as inculcate, in all of us, a profound sense of social responsibility.
  • It is only through the fulfillment of duties in the most earnest way, which can live life to the truest potential and help lead the nation towards prosperity and development.
  • While it is absolutely necessary to defend the Fundamental Rights relating to life, liberty equality and freedom of expression etc., it is time that we, as citizens, take our duties towards the nation seriously. Entitlements come with duties and responsibilities as well.
  • Nation building can’t be the responsibility of governments alone. Citizens have to play an equally important role. Our Constitution enlisted a set of eleven ‘Fundamental Duties of the Citizens’ toward the nation.

Every citizen to take responsibility for protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country; promoting harmony; defending and promoting the dignity of women; protection of environment; preserving the rich heritage and culture including promotion of Indian languages; inculcating a strong civic sense; protecting public property and abjuring violence; and striving for excellence.

“Let us perform our duty to make India mighty”.

Mains question:

Elaborate the statement: “If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek, if leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o’-the-wisp”. —Mahatma Gandhi.


“It is a glowing testimony to our country’s resilience, the strong framework of Parliamentary democracy, a robust electoral system and above all, the peoples’ ability to orchestrate dissent through constitutional provisions that prevented us from slipping into dictatorship.”


The gulf between rich and poor, men and women

Paper: III

For Prelims: Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty.

For Mains: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Context of News:

  • A report published by Oxfam recently , the international non-profit focussed on the alleviation of global poverty, underlined what has been said repeatedly by governments, research organisations and a range of multilateral bodies over the past decade or more — that economic inequality, as the report said, “is out of control”, with extremes of wealth existing alongside great poverty.

Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty:

  • Absolute poverty is a condition where household income is below a necessary level to maintain basic living standards (food, shelter, and housing).Absolute poverty signify absolute fatalities and put a family in situation unable meet basic requirement of livelihood.
  • Relative poverty is a condition where household income is a certain percentage below median incomes. Relative poverty is poverty in comparison.E.g I have bike instead of car.

About the Report:

  • Report shows that just over 2000 individual billionaires control more money than 60 percent of the world’s poor population combined, and that it is the underpaid or even unpaid work done by the world’s poorest women that generates enormous wealth for the global economy.
  • “This great divide”, the Oxfam report said, “is based on a flawed and sexist economic system” which has “accumulated vast wealth and power into the hands of a rich few, in part by exploiting the labour of women and girls, and systematically violating their rights”.

Unseen and unrewarded contribution by women:

  • Unpaid work done by the poorest women that generates enormous wealth for the economy. Underpaid and unpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the global economy each year than the whole technology industry together.
  • Combined contribution to the global economy of all this care work done by poor women is worth 10.8 trillion US dollars:  that’s three times bigger than the whole tech industry – three times bigger than Google, Facebook, all of them put together.

How wide is the gap between the richest and the rest?

  • 2,153 individuals, the number of billionaires in the world in 2019, have more wealth among them than 4.6 billion people.
  • 22 of the world’s richest men have a combined wealth that is more than the wealth of all the women of Africa.
  • The world’s richest 1% has more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.

Gender equality and economic equality go hand in hand:

  • Gender equality under the law improves as countries become more economically free. Countries that still restrict women’s economic rights will pay higher economic costs. Treating women and men equally before the law brings more economic freedom and increases society’s potential growth.
  • current economy, that gives an extreme amount of wealth to a tiny group of people at the top is also a deeply sexist economy: “It’s an economy that is built on the backs of women and of poor women and their labour, whether it’s poorly paid labour or even unpaid labour, it is a sexist economy and it’s a broken economy, and you can only fix the gap between the rich and the poor if at the same time you fix the gap between women and men.
  • Globally, extreme poverty rates are 4% higher for women than men; this gap rises to 22% during women’s peak productive and reproductive ages; that is, 122 women aged 25-34 for every 100 men of the same age group live in extremely poor households, largely due to childcare responsibilities.
  • Women do 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day, equivalent to 1.5 billion people working 8 hours a day with no remuneration.
  • Globally, 42% of working age women are outside the paid labour force, compared with 6% of men, due to unpaid care responsibilities.
  • Worldwide, girls aged 5-9 and 10-14 spend on average 30% and 50% more of their time respectively on unpaid care work than boys of similar ages.

How to Reduce Inequality:

  • Create jobs by investing in infrastructure, developing renewable energy sources, renovating abandoned housing and significantly increasing affordable housing investments, and making other commonsense investments to revitalize neighbourhoods.
  • Improve job quality and strengthen families by raising the minimum wage to ensure pay equity.
  • Focus on bottom up approach. Invest in human capital by expanding access to high-quality and affordable childcare and early education; creating pathways to good jobs such as apprenticeships, national service opportunities, and a national subsidized jobs program.

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